All is set for the rebirth of Netball in Oyo State as the State Netball Association will on Wednesday kick start a four-day event put together to revive the game in the state.
According to the Chairperson, Oyo State Netball Association, Ambassador Romoke Ayinde, the long overdue revival of netball, which had been erased from Nigerian Sports catalogue since 1973, will be heralded by an unveiling ceremony and an exhibition match at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium.
Featuring on the BCOS TV flagship Sports program, Saturday Breakfast Sports with Boluwaji Ogunmola last weekend, Ambassador Romoke Ayinde hinted that the unveiling ceremony and an exhibition match would be followed by a 3-day competition among invited schools in the state.
In response to a question on why she took up the challenge to revive the game in Oyo State, Ambassador Ayinde said her love for grassroots sports development prompted her take up the role.
She further assured that the revival of the netball, which was last played competitively in Nigeria in 1973, would encourage more girls to participate in the sports.
“I love everything that has to do with youths, I’ve always been involved in youth development, so when I was called upon to Champion the re-birth of netball in Oyo state, it was easy for me to answer the call and introduce it to the girl-child. Netball is a sport girls can call their own” she said.
Speaking on the sustainability of netball in Oyo State, the Chairperson said her Association had set achievable goals. She added that the Association had been able to secure the support of various stakeholders for technical and human development.
“We have set achievable goals, we have gotten a sponsor for our four-day events but we are seeking for more. We have written to over 120 schools in Oyo State and many of them have shown interest. The Management of the Obafemi Awolowo stadium has given us a court to be converted to a netball court. We have kits, and we are good to go.“
She also called on the State Government, corporate organisations and sports loving individuals within and outside the State to collaborate with the Association to develop netball in the state.
“We want the Government and private organizations to partner with us to sustain the sport in the state. We’re very grateful to His Excellency Governor Seyi Makinde for tremendous supports to sports in the state”, she concluded.
Ambassador Romoke Ayinde implored parents to encourage their wards to participate in sports which she noted assists in character building and all round development.
Netball is a ball sport played on a rectangular court by two teams of seven players. The game is almost similar to basketball with its primary objective being shooting a ball through a goal ring.
It is one of a few sports created exclusively for women and girls and can be played indoors and at outdoor courts.